Peace can often be disrupted by change. Change can wreak havoc on our faith, encouraging us to put our hope in the next season, for the peace found in heaven. Is the peace of heaven your goal?
It’s brilliant, the colors produced by frost, but this is July. Summer in New Hampshire isn’t a time for such change. The weather has been wacky. We’ve gone from heat wave to frost filled nights and back to summer in a matter of days. Due to the unexpected frigid temperatures, the vines growing alongside the road have turned a vibrant red. These colorful leaves are a view not normally observed in summer. Nature has an expected course, and yet change has disrupted it.
Our lives are similar to the roadside vines. We’re comfortable. We schedule our days, plan for futures, and have become complacent with the world that surrounds us, as if what is will not change. Everything has a season. We work hard, strive toward goals, and expect that one day we’ll enjoy the fruits of our labor, both financially and personally, but unexpected change can disrupt those plans.
Unwelcome and often difficult to accept, diverting our journey in directions we never imagined, things beyond our control arise, impacting our calculated steps. Change is hard. Rather than life conforming to our plans, we find ourselves adapting on the fly. We scramble to adjust, intent to still achieve the end goals we treasure, our eyes ever on the future. With our focus so often on what’s ahead, our energy spent on maneuvering the myriad of unexpected diversions, we’re never at rest. But the goal is worth it, isn’t it?
This scenario resonates in our Spiritual lives as well. When unexpected issues arise and challenge our faith, we struggle, and work diligently to get the path to peace in view once more. We look forward to heaven and what God has waiting for us there, as if that’s the end goal. Infuriated by the world’s injustices that we can’t seem to rectify, we look forward to the peace we’ll experience one day in heaven. We anticipate a time in which peace and love will rule. Just as with our plan toward retirement or material goals, what is beyond our reach has become our focus. However, God’s Kingdom is meant to be experienced today!
It isn’t beyond reach. It’s not an unseen image off in the distance taunting us. You don’t need to work toward or wish for the end goal of heaven’s peace when God’s Kingdom is present and surrounding you now. You simply need it revealed to you. Turn to Christ. Commune with Him. Be with Him. There is no effort necessary, just a choice to let Him be your King. Let Him open your eyes to the Spiritual realm that is closer than you humanly can perceive. The more intimate your relationship with Christ, the more you see God’s will at work. Unexpected chaos or change becomes seen as God’s purpose. You sense the filling of His Holy Spirit within your being, imparting peace and joy, regardless of circumstances that previously challenged your walk.
Autumn in July
Nature has no choice but to go along for the ride, adapt without complaint, and glows in brilliance from the circumstances it endures. Rather than looking ahead toward a goal and working to achieve it, rest and enjoy the space of today, sitting at the feet of our Savior. Live in His Spiritual realm now, the Kingdom of God. Let His will be done, and enjoy His peace as it wraps around us. Tomorrow will likely look different than we’d hoped, but God is there and allows us to adapt to His will. Trusting that He is in control and resting in that is powerful.
“Thanks for your advice, but I’ll do just fine learning from my own mistakes.” If I didn’t say them out loud, those words were screaming in my head. My mother had shared another story from her past meant to enlighten and encourage me to skip the same mistakes she’d made. She was parenting, but much like most teenagers, I was quite brilliant. I didn’t need direction from anyone else, especially my mother.
Well, here I am thirty-ish years later in the same situation with my own children. “I really think you’ll notice the difference if you eat better,” I’d said. Instantly the eye-roll and irritation emanating from my young adult daughter was felt, if not seen. It’s much the same response I get from all my children when I offer advice from the many life-lessons I’ve learned. I shrug and pray for the patience to be quiet…now and the next time I want to offer my thoughts. Which reminds me of the serenity prayer I quoted in my video message: Sons and Daughters of the King, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.”
Can we change those we love? Should we try to change them? How much energy, worry, and control should we exert on the decisions of those we care for? Over the course of my child-rearing years, I’ve learned that we, as parents, aren’t really in control. I’ve realized that we can’t fulfill any promise to keep our children safe from harm. It’s clear that many influences occur in our children’s lives that either we’re unaware of or painfully wish had never happened.
During my early parenting years, God spoke to my heart. He was present, offering peace and easing my mind. His strength gave aid to my defeated soul. He offered wisdom and direction, clarifying my role in my children’s lives. You see, God is the only One who is in control. He is the Creator, and these children are His. He does allow bad things to happen. We (you and I) grow, learn, and change largely based on the struggles we face and endure. Our children are no different. If He has intentions that my children experience things I strive for them to avoid, He has His reasons. His will never fails.
Struggling to control a child’s direction and filling with anxiety when they don’t listen wastes energy, causes faith to falter, and fills us with stress. Looking at life’s circumstances through a belief in God and His will, even for our children, allows us freedom. We gain the ability to let go and entrust them to Him.
That doesn’t mean that we stop parenting. However, remaining constantly in communication with God, seeking His wisdom, and trusting His will allows two things to happen: 1) We are comforted when things don’t go the way we’d hoped, and 2) Our children see us in peace during moments where chaos is expected or present. It is a quiet visual of relationship for others to witness, rather than ranting that these difficult times or bad choices are not what we or God would want. When we keep our eyes on God, we step out of being a factor in or source of the chaos itself and become a vessel of peace.
We can relate to our children. After all, we often sense God’s direction in our lives and respond much like an adolescent to a parent, “I’ll do just fine, Lord, learning from my own mistakes.” As you know, life would be so much easier if we’d heed God’s advice. Let me encourage you to come close to God and grow in that relationship. His direction may, at times, be difficult, but the beauty of what He is creating is worth it, and the peace He imparts on the journey gives us strength to endure.
Watch what God can do in your child’s life. When we co-parent with Him, we experience peace in the midst of chaos. Witness the difference that peace in your own parenting can make for those in your life. Though some things take time to change, you can be sure that when you entrust your children to Him, He’ll do a great job. Be a quiet but powerful force of faith in your child’s corner. They will benefit!